This will be our first trip to Hawaii (3 adults, no kids) and I am interested in getting some feedback about must-see/must do's while there. We plan on staying 10 days and visiting Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. We definitely want to hit Aulani for a few days, but other than that, all I know for sure that I want to do is swim with dolphins (a bucket list item), possibly snorkel, take a boat outing to see whales/ocean stuff, and see lots of pretty waterfalls, etc....maybe a helicopter tour if it's worth it? I'm not a hugely active person, but we're still young and will do some active stuff if it's worth the pain :P Do any of you have ideas about where to do these things and/or any other ideas of what to do? We're in our 30's, just fyi. My husband's mother is also going and she's a very active 60's. We are also foodies, so restaurant ideas would be welcome.
I've only been to Maui and that was 2 years ago but it was awesome and we trying to plan a trip back for next year.
On Maui we saw a bunch if places but here are my favorites and why
Lahaina is a small town in west Maui. They have shopping and a ton of restaurants out favorite was Kimo's which had delicious food. There is a view but it was pouring that night so it was closed. A little pricey but well worth it. There is also the Pizza co. Place (proper name escapes me) but there bruschetta was the best we've ever had and nothing has compared since. They serve deep dish pizza and is much cheaper than most places. They also have a small Italian place with a name that escapes me but it has an awesome view of the ocean just by the Rockwall (u will know what I mean if u see it). The thing we spent a lot of time doing when it was raining was taking a look through the many art galleries there.
South Maui had much better snorkeling while we were there and we thought te beaches were better. Be prepared to walk from the parking lot at the public beaches. Our place to stay next time Ishtar makena beach and golf resort.
We stayed at the Aston Mahana at Ka'anapli which is a condo place with floor to ceiling windows and a private lanai. It was amazing! We went during whale season and could see whales from the lanai, also a sea turtle! The snorkeling was great there and the beach was much rockier than south Maui when we went.
I do recommend a dolphin tour if that would interest you. We did a whale tour and it was the best experience of the whole trip (for me).
Also remember to go with the flow. The most romantic experience of the trip was when we went for a drive and chased rainbows up the mountain and back down. We laughed and were amazed at all the double rainbows we saw. We saw surfers at the look out points too which was pretty cool. We didn't get to do everything but it was an amazing trip and I hope we can have as much fun on the next one.
We have been three times but only to Big Island and Oahu. Its been a while since we were there but visiting Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial is very interesting. We also take a drive around the island and stop at the North Shore, Dole Pavilian, Punchbowl Cemetery, Pali Lookout, Hanauma Bay and a few other sight seeing places. Another thing that is interesting is walking to the top of Diamond Head. You can see a lot from there.
Hawaii is a very big island and takes a good day to drive around the whole island if you plan to stop and see things. We went to volcano and walked out on the lava fields. There really is not a lot to do on the Big Island other than seeing some of the beautiful scenery.
If you are in Maui on Halloween, then you will need to go to Lahaina for the festivities. They call it the Madi Gras of the Pacific, it can get pretty outrageous - not for kids after dark. Maui is great for snorkeling and whale watching. There is also Haleakala National Park for sunrise - beautiful. One of our favorite places to eat on Maui is The Gazebo, small place you will most likely wait in line, but you may see turtles while you eat as it is next to the ocean. We have just returned from Aulani and it is beautiful.
Aulani is amazing, it truly is a paradise and you have to see it to believe it. We spent the day there on the Hawaii cruise on the Disney Wonder and i'm so glad I had the chance to experience it.
We had dinner @ Ama Ama and it was great, the view is great, the food is great it's a really nice experience so if you're going to be there for the day and want to eat dinner (especially if it's all adults) i'd recommend Ama Ama.
We were kind of limited in our exploring as we were docking at certain points. I agonized over this trip because we had always wanted to go to Hawaii and knew we might not have a chance to get back there and i wanted to experience our bucket list items while we could.
We went to a black sand beach near the port which was very intriguing to us b/c i'd never seen black sand and they had these massive willowy barked trees that were like something out of a movie. There were enormous sea turtles coming right up to the rocks where we were standing and it was awesome.
We went to the Shearaton Hotel Black Rock on Ka'anapali Beach and it was great. What a beautiful beach, we got one of those squishy sun chairs with the umbrella top (like our own personal cabana i can't remember what it's called) and snorkeled and relaxed. The beach was really beautiful and the snorkeling was great (we bought our own equipment before the trip and i'd highly recommend that. You have your own stuff that you can clean and adjust to your own head and feet and not have to mess around with rented equipment and risk something not functioning properly).
We went to the Old Lahina Luau and let me just say, we aren't Luau people. We felt obligated to do a Luau since we were in Hawaii but we didn't enjoy the food and the show really wasn't our thing. That being said, make sure you are "luau people" before you spend all the money! YIKES! **And note to self: Don't make decisions on expensive shore excursions, like a Luau, after having rum drinks at the beach bar.**
We did a helicopter tour through Safari helicopters in Kauai and it was AMAZING. I'd highly recommend that company, I was really happy with the price and the service and the tour itself. We did the waterfall one (I think I wrote an article about it, it should be in the Passporter news archives). It was amazing. That is something I would really target to do, it's a once in a lifetime experience and the view is fantastic. You can't really even believe what you're seeing, it's like a postcard in real life.
So i'd certainly go for the waterfall tour through Safari helicopters and if you want to snorkel there is a snorkel lagoon @ aulani (if you want a more controlled enviornment) but it is FREEZING. There are gorgeous fish though and it's kind of like snorkeling for dummies b/c everything is RIGHT there and the fish can't get far